NHL debut ‘went well’

‘Wills, a Lakeshore Catholic High School grad, was one of a handful of broadcasters the Sabres selected to pinch hit for the vacationing Jeanneret. Wills said he would love to work more NHL games soon. "It’s in the Buffalo Sabres’ hands now," said Wills, who didn’t miss a Bulldogs game while in Vancouver recently.’

Ruff demanding more from team

‘Montador and Lydman had served as a solid defensive pairing until they began to struggle in the West Coast run, with Ruff opting to keep a healthy Andrej Sekera out in favor of the tandem throughout January. Wednesday night’s game marked the first time this season that either blueliner has been benched. “It’s tough. It’s never an easy decision… We thought about taking one out, finally I made a decision to take them both out,” Ruff said. “We could have won both games, San Jose and Vancouver, with that pair playing better.”’

Ryan Miller carries Buffalo Sabres to shootout win

‘"I think a lot of guys were ready before the game," said center Derek Roy. "Coming back from that trip, guys not sleeping well, it was definitely tough, but it was a big two points for us. We knew we had to step up our game, especially against these guys."’

Miller turns in an Olympic-sized effort for Sabres

‘"It was big," said coach Lindy Ruff. "We had talked about the points we’d given up. To stop it where we stopped it … that extra point is very important."’

Miller’s play warrants MVP talk

‘"Yeah, I felt like I was just a slight bit off my game in San Jose and Vancouver," Miller said. "I talked to Lindy [Ruff] about what he saw in my game. He thought I was trying to do too much, being a little anxious."’

Mair breaks through with goals

‘"It felt nice," admitted Mair, who added No. 2 in the first period Wednesday by tipping home a Derek Roy shot. "Just getting opportunities and being around the net is good. When those aren’t coming is when you want to change things and make adjustments. I’ve been getting chances."’

Lydman, Montador get night off

‘“We were both really excited to get back in. I thought Reg (Sekera) played great,” Paetsch said. “He’s a great young talent and he’s going to be a great hockey player in this league for a long time. He’s a fast skater, he creates a lot of open ice. When they put me and Reg in there, they’re obviously going to expect some offensive ability, that’s what we bring to the table.”’

Thursday’s New Jersey Coverage

NJ Devils lose for sixth time in eight games with 2-1 shootout defeat to Buffalo Sabres (Newark Star Ledger)

NJ Devils’ Martin Brodeur vs. Buffalo Sabres’ Ryan Miller an Olympic preview? (Newark Star Ledger)

Devils cut down by Sabres, 2-1, in shootout (Bergen Record)

Elias working out (Bergen Record)

Sabres 2, Devils 1 F/SO (NewJerseyDevils.com)

Photo gallery (NewJerseyDevils.com)

Photo gallery (Sabres.com)

Photo gallery (AP)

Pominville, Hecht score in shootout for Buffalo

‘In an effort to shake things up with his struggling team, Sabres coach Lindy Ruff sat the defensive pair of Toni Lydman and Steve Montador, and dressed Andrej Sekera and Nathan Paetsch.’

Buffalo 2, New Jersey 1 (SO)

‘After a scoreless first round, Hecht avoided a Martin Brodeur poke check and slid the puck into the net past the sprawled-out netminder. After Ryan Miller stopped Jamie Langenbrunner’s shot, Pominville ripped a shot past Brodeur glove-side for the game-winner.’

Home Sweet Home

‘The game remained tied through the remainder of regulation and went to a shootout after both teams failed to score during the five-minute overtime period. There, Miller turned aside attempts by both Zach Parise and Jamie Langenbrunner while Jochen Hecht and Jason Pominville were able to beat Brodeur to give Buffalo the victory.’

Sabres say their wounds have been self-inflicted

‘”I don’t think that we played bad,” Rivet said. “I think we’re making mistakes that teams are capitalizing on. They seem to be key mistakes in the game. We’re just not getting it done right now, which means we need to be better. We need to do more.”‘

Buffalo comes home on four-game skid

‘Unfortunately, a meeting with Atlantic Division-leading New Jersey won’t make for a cushy return.’

Wednesday’s New Jersey Coverage

New Jersey (34-16-1) at Buffalo (30-14-7) (AP)

New Jersey Devils (34-16-1) at Buffalo Sabres (30-14-7) (The Sports Network)

Sabres return home for meeting with Devils (NHL.com)

Wednesday’s Portland Coverage

Pirates knock off top team (Portland Press Herald)

Monarchs fall in shootout to Portland, 3-2 (Manchester Union Leader)

Pirates remain steady at the helm (Maine Hockey Journal)

Enroth Stops Monarchs in Their Tracks (PortlandPirates.com)

Mancari His Pirates To Shootout Victory (MonarchsHockey.com)